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Getting paid to do my Homework!

I got a new job this week. I now work for my school, Rollins College. What is my job you might ask? Well, I repair laptops and am part of a classroom technology team. The awsome thing is, we have so little work to do, that most of time is spent doing what ever we want at our designated office locations. And for me, that means doing my homework while getting paid. Or surfing the web. Or even just cruising around campus in our own personal golf carts, acting like we own to this school :P. Seriously, this is how my first day started when I came to work and introduced myself. Me: "...Nice to meet you. So, what do you want me work on?" Mentor: "Your homework!" Me: "...Heh? What?" Mentor: "Well, we hardly have much work so do what you want." Me: "YES SIR!" So I walk back to my desk, and I figure I might aswell do my homework since I got nothing better to do. That's when a girl walks in who also works there like me. She walks in pretty quickly, doesn't even notices me, and goes straight to her desk. She then takes out her computer. It seemed like she was about to get busy doing some work. So I walk up to her to introduce myself. Me: "Hi, I am new here. My name is Vahid." Girl: "Hey, didn't even notice you, my name is Judy." Me: "Nice to meet you. What work are you doing here?" Judy: "Work? Oh, I am just starting up a movie to watch." Me: "Well move over and let me watch too will ya...." (BTW, we were watching Bourne Ultimatum which is an awsome movie) Yeah, I love my job :D But don't get me wrong. We still have to do work. Every now and then we have to install equipment in classrooms, go and obtain hardware from a place, or deliver hardware somewhere, help teachers who are having trouble with equipment in classrooms, and repair stuff. But like I said, there is so little work, that we just chill and do what ever we feel like it most of the time. And no one bothers us. You know. I could get used to this really easily...

My Game's Trailer

It's finally here. Some video footage and pictures of my first game EVER:

The Farthest Land Trailer

Four months of hard work and the concept version of my game is finally done. I honestly am more then happy with what I have developed for its a true joy to see the fruit of my labor. Game development is definetly something I want to do for the rest of my life.

Some of you may want to know how much effort it took me to develope this game, so in the fallowing I will be briefly discussing the number of different aspects of the game such gameplay, animation, music etc.


This is the aspect I spent most of time developing (about 3/4 of the time). As you can see, my goal was to integrate a targeting system to this 2D fighting game. I believe the aspect of targeting the player gives you a sense of 'touch' which further immerses you into the given battle. I think I have succeeded in integrating the targeting system in way that makes it challanging and fun.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to develope some complex combat moves for the game. As it is, the game consists of very simple moves of striking the player. On top of that, I was not able to add a jump move to the game because I couldn't get it feel right. And do to time constraints, I decided to remove the jumping aspect. Nevertheless, these aspects that I was not able to integrate into the gameplay is something I will be developing the months to come. So you can definetly expect a more diverse and interesting combat system in the final version of the game. But even as the game is right now I think it is extremelyfun to play, well for me at least.


This is the second thing I spent the most time on, and its definetly the most difficult one. I'll be honest, I have no animation experience whats so ever. So it was a real struggle to learn how to animate. I mean, I constantly had to redo a bunch of animation because I just am never satisfied with it. Even with animation as it isright now, and I think it looks great, but I plan to redo them all because I think I can do way better.Well that what Iget for being aperfectionist.

I would say that animation development is very very time consuming.One frame takes about 30 mintues to draw for me. So I couldn't develope as much of the animation as I wanted. Nevertheless, I believe that animation is a very important aspect for such a game as I am developing. So I plan to put a lot of focus and work into it.

Art Direction

Since I am making a 2D game, I wanted it to feel like the player is playing within a painting. Thus the reason the setting itself is painted. It was very difficult developing that setting because I rarely ever paint, so its something new to me, something that I find rather interesting. In fact, I will be taking painting courses next semester to further improve my painting skill.

This setting is actually my 3rd one. The first two that I developed I was just not happy with. As you can tell, I redo a lot of my work. I believe in this kind business, you have to redo a lot ofyour work for the betterif you want to succeed in developing something trully worthwhile.


The song that is played through the game is called "A Knight's Promotion" by Justin R. Durban. The song is about 5 years old and I have managed to get permission from Mr. Durban to use the song in my game since the song is freeware. Justin R. Durban is a film composer and his latest work was next upcomming Harry Potter film. For more of his music, check out his site which is pretty awsome.

I really like this song and fits my game perfectly. If I ever get funding for my game I would love to hire Justin R. Durban to compose music for my game, even though his a film composer.

The Future

Ah, what am I planning for the future of my game? Well, I plan to continue making the game for at least 2 years more. And yes, my focus is still mostly on interactive storytelling even though it was not apparant in that trailer.

Also, I hope to release a demo of my game soon so everyone can play. Anyways, that's it for my blog. Please, let me know what you guys think of the game so far.

The Progress of Developing My Game

So, what is my game about? How far have I come with developing it? What hardships did I learn from and experience through this game development? And what are my plans for the future of this game? These are things I will be discussing in this blog, so if you are interesting, read on.

Description of my Game

The game is called The Farthest Land (working title) and the type of game I have decided to make is a 2D fighting game. However, my goal is to stray away from the rather traditional aspects of the genre and create a trully unique fighting game. That means, no more button smashing, no count downs to a fight, no health bars, and absolutely no more BAD storytelling.

My focus is on creating a fighting game that focuses on interactive storytelling. I don't want the player to fight another character just for the sake of fighting, I want there to be a reason for the player to fight another character. For example, one aspect of the game has you playing this female fighter who has just given birth to her child. However, her child has been taken from her, and now she is searching the woods at the middle of the night for this person who took her child. She finds this person (another female) who is planning on killing her child. Point being, you have to fight this woman for the sake of the child. If you loose, the child dies, and game over. If you win, the story progresses and you fall into the responsibility of having to protect that child. So I leaning towards making the fights trully envolved and rather personal and emotional.

An amazing film that draw a lot of inspiration from.

Now as for the fighting system, how the hell do you develope a fighting game that doesn't have you button smash your way through the fight. Simple, remove the aspects of fighting with a bunch buttons COMPLETELY. Instead of there bieng a bunch of attack buttons, in my game there will only be ONE attack button. How will this work? Well, with the implementation of a targeting system. Basically, you will have to aim at the character to attack him/her. It my sound crazy, but works so well that I can't believe that no one ever thought this before (please relize that I am referring the fighting genre and not to games in general). Just imagine, if you want hit the character on the head, you just aim for the head and hit. If you hit the character on the legs, you aim for the legs and hit. Basically, the focus of fighting a character will be to actually hit the character, instead of just comming near the character and pressing a series of buttons. This type of fighting system makes so much sense to me and it works so well. On top of that, I am really focusing on animation. I believe that animation is the key to any fighitng game (God of War is a good example of an action adventure fighting game).

Ok, that is just a small description regarding my game. There is so much more to it that I do not want the discuss right now, like the implementation of interactive music (similar to musical design of SotC), unique level design to cater to given fights (imagine fighting within environments that are constantly changing around you), and much more. But these are rather ambitious ideas that I have not worked on yet, thus the reason I do not wish to discuss them.

The Progress of the Development of my Game

At the moment being, I am not ready to reveal any images or clips of the game. I am still in the progress of the developing the combat system and the AI, though most of it is done. It's been tough and extremely slow. The project is rather ambitous considering the level of complexity of the combat system. But hey, you want to make it big, you have to think big. Still, my focus is on quality over quanity. Which kind of brings to points where I have to make tough decisions. Like for example, just the other week when I was developing the block system, I was think if I should keep the block system regular like in other games (where you hold just one button to block) or implement the aspect of blocking through the targeting system. I finally decided, for the mean time, that I will keep it regular and if I have time in the future I will improve upon.

Yet another amazing film that I draw inspiration from.

I would say, the toughest part of developing this kind of game is the collision detection and animation. You have to develope the animation and program it in such ways that makes two characters fighting each other look natural. You don't want them passing through each other or some wierd things like that.

Other then that, I have really really enjoyed making this game. I can't believe that game development is this much fun. Don't get me wrong, there were times where I just wanted to pull my hair out of frustration. But overall, I am really enjoying making games, but I am in the minority here, for I extremely enjoy content creating. So if you are planning on getting into the industry, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into for it is definetly not for everyone.

Future Plans

My plan so far is to have some pictures and a trailer of the game ready by June. I am hoping I can show off the game to everyone before June, but we'll see. There is still a lot of artwork to be developed, a whole lot, so that may slow me down.

Now, one thing I am hoping is to have a small part of the game finished by July so I can submit it for the Microsoft's XNA Dream. Build. Play. Contest. I have been working hard to meet that goal because the first place winner will get their game published on Xbox Live, and 19 second/third place winners get an Xbox 360, a brand new Alienware computer, and some extremely expensive development software like Maya. Do I think I can win first place? I don't know, but I do believe in myself that I will deliver a quality based fighting game that is fun and innovative. If not first place, I would be happy enough to be one the 19 second/third place winners.

Well that's it for my blog post. If you have any feedback, comments, suggesting regarding my game, please feel free to post them here.

Motion Picture Filming at my School

Just three days ago a Hollywood film crew came to my school (Rollins College) to film a movie called Sydney White on my school campus. The movie is a chick-flick type of film (not my type). Nevertheless, I was pretty excited for I got a chance to truly be behind scene of the development of a film.

Now to get one thing straight, the college I go to is small, smaller then my high school. It consists of 1,500 people. And it's definitely one of the most gorgeous school  I have ever seen. So it's rather strange to be walking around campus and all of a sudden you see these Hollywood actors walking around on campus. And then you witness all these huge film equipment being moved around campus, and thick cables rolling around.

Everyday, the movie people keep reallocating to different spots on the campus to shoot for the film. Just yesterday, me and my friend were walking to class when suddenly this young woman stopped us and she said, "Sorry, you guys can't pass through this area, we are currently shooting. You are going to have go around. Sorry." That didn't annoy me, for I still thought it was pretty awesome that I get to be in the presents of this film development. Nevertheless, the whole filming has started a major commotion at my school.

This is where they stopped me and my friend during the filming.

Even when you pass through the area that they are filming (when they allow you) you will see big warning signs that state that if you walk through this area and they catch you on camera during filming then they have every right to use that shot in the film despite your rights for privacy.

Well that's that. Some of the people that I know will be appearing in the film. They are actually using a lot students around the campus. Not for acting, but just for standing around or passing by within the given scenes that they will be shooting. They pay you $75 bucks and you have to be there from 6AM to 6PM on your assigned day.

This is the book store. The books here are utterly expensive.

The only disappointing thing about this whole filming is that they are using to two schools to film this movie, which is my school and University of Central Florida (much much much bigger and uglier then Rollins College). It's weird because UCF has these very modern type buildings while my school has building that are very Spanish oriented, so it's kind of strange that they are using both locations instead of just one, since the two schools look so different from each other.

Oh well, I'll see if I can get myself in the film. It would be awesome to be in the film, even if it is for just one single second.

Developing my Own Game!!!

A month ago, I was planning on entering the Game Developer for a Day 5 Contest. But then I decided that I would better off if I spend my holiday break expanding my programming knowledge so I can start developing my own game, instead of writing down my ideas of a game for a contest. Afterall, I do want to become a Game Designer.

I started off 2 weeks ago when I finished my fall term (toughest term I ever took). With 6 weeks of no school, it was the perfect opportunity for me to spend my free time learning how to program games. Thus I decided to go with XNA which pretty much is the easiest game development tool out there and it allows you to make games for both the Xbox 360 and the PC. It's fairly new too. Microsoft just released 10 days ago (Dec. 11th).

So thanks to the amazing and helpful XNA community I was able to learn how to use XNA pretty quickly with the many helpful tutorials (including video tutorials). So this is how far I have gotten in 2 weeks of programming on XNA:


In this program, I have added a cheap background with an image of the sun moving slowly from left to right. The main animation is of the warrior with the sword where he just swings sword continously forever and ever. Here is the sprite I made for this animation:

As you can see, it's only one image in which I have to write some code that will cut out a piece of that image and display it on screen and do that continously through out the 9 frames of that image. It was a little complicating to program, but with a little help of a video turtorial, I managed to learn with ease.

3D Air Hockey Game

This was pretty darn complicating. This game was completely developed with the help of a series of tutorials. The tutorials provided me with three models (puck, peddle, and the table) and of course a guide to programming a 3D Air Hocky game (Artificial Inteligence not included). I think I spend 3 days on it and it is pretty complicating, but not as complicating as I thought it would be. It's still incomplete though, but my focus is on 2D programming right now, maybe next year I will dwell deeper into 3D programming and perhaps even game Engine development. But for now, I want to take it one step at a time and don't get too ahead of myself.

Collision Detection

In this program, I have developed two 2D bouncing balls. I programmed them so that they keep a constant speed and never slow down. The trick here is to detect when they hit something and how to make them bounce off in the right direction (they don't bounce of magically you know). The easy part was to detecting the outer edges of window and bounce off from there. The really really hard part was detecting when the two balls hit each other and than determining in what direction they would bounce off to.

I spent 5 days on this program. The thing that makes it so hard is that the two balls can hit each from many different angles, and bounce off in many different direction. And I am proud to say that I got it working 95% percent of time. There are certain rare cases where the two balls hit each other at a certain angle while going in a certain direction, in which they end up bouncing off in directions they are not supposed to. In order to get it to work perfectly I am going to have to learn a bunch of physics. So decided to stop there, and be happy with what I managed to develope so far. In future, I might just take a Physics course so that might help me perfect this program.

A lot more to Learn

I still have a lot more to learn like player Input, different kinds of collision tests, Artificial Inteligence, etc. So far I have been enjoying programming with XNA and with 4 more weeks to go, I will have enough time to fully learn the process of 2D game programming and start developing my highly hyped game :P, The Farthest Land.

Voices of a Distant Star

I just saw this anime on YouTube. It's only one episode long (25 minutes), but the animation, art, and the emotional storyline is just breathtaking. The anime is about love, seperation, isolation, and desperation, all within the setting of farthest reaches of space.

The thing that facinates me the most about this anime is that it was entirely done by one person with the exception of the music which was done by the creator's friend. The man who made this anime single handandly is Makato Shinkai.

The anime was highly praised in Japan and even made it to the US on DVD. After that Shinkai developed his first feature animated film (with a team and a budget) known as The Place Promised in Our Early Days. I have yet to see this animated movie and I will soon enough for I have heard great things about it. So from the looks of it, Makato Shinkai could become the next Hayau Miyazaki.

But I must say, that Shinkai has strongly influenced me. The fact that he could develope such a high quality anime by himself really shows how far a single person can go with given talent and hard work. This has motivated me to do my best and work hard in developing the game I have been working on known as The Farthest Land.

Lastly, it seems there is a manga (picture above) that fallows the anime and even goes beyond it. I will be reading that soon. Speaking of which, the next episode of the Blue Dragon Manga must have been translated by now.....[runs off to go and read]

Studio Art

As many of you know, I go to a private Arts and Science college known as Rollins College here in Orlando. Considering that I want to be a game designer, director, producer, and art director of game development, this school was a perfect fit for me.

I don't know why I didn't do this early but I have just decided to add the Studio Art Minor to rest of my academic years at Rollins College. I am already taking a Film Minor and Business Minor along with my Computer Science major. But this art minor will set me in the right path of applying art to my game designs. Here is the list of classes that I will be taking for my Studio Art Minor:

-ART 131 Studio Foundations
-ARH 201 Introduction to Art History I
-ART 221 Drawing and Composition
-ART 243/343 Human Figure Drawing
-ART 251 Painting I
-ART 351 Painting II

The first three are required, but the second three are electives. These has got me really excited because I will be fallowing in the footsteps of my faverite game developer, Fumitu Ueda, who was the game designer, director, art director, lead animator, and one of the character designer of Shadow of the Colossus and ICO. Apart from that I also want to be a producer, director, and writer like Hideo Kojima. So I guess you can see I will be something that is a mix between Fumitu Ueda and Hideo Kojima. However, I am leaning more toward Ueda then Kojima.

Other then that I would like to show you guys a sketch that I made for a game I am making at Reanimation Studios. The game is called The Farthest Land, and though I will not give out any details as to what it is about just yet, I will say this. That sketch below is from the beginning of the game where you play a female who is riding a horse through a white/blue forest while holding a baby in her hand. As you can see she is being chased by a pack of wolfs. So you as a player will have to fight off those wolfs and eventually escape. Basically, escape is the main theme of the game.

Click to Enlarge

Other then that I will be doing several critical analysis of many of my faverite games and I will post here as blog posts. Basically what I will be doing is playing the games with my head turned on in which I analyze how the game was designed. Critically analyzing games is very important if you wish to become a game designer and it looks very attractive on your resume.  The first game I will be critially analyzing would have to be my faverite game Shadow of the Colossus.

The Wheel Turns

Don't know if any of you guys are familiar with the Wheel of Time series, but I just finished the first book in it's long running series. The first book is called The Eye of the World.

Honestly, it's the best book I have read thus far. It's a fantasy book much like The Lord of the Rings series, but much better in my mind. The Wheel of Time was first introduced to me 8 months ago by two friends of mine, Arath_1 and Nimroc. They both said that the Wheel of Time is their faverite book series so I had to it read and see what is so special about it because I was in a state of disbelief that another book could actually be better then the Lord of the Rings but The Wheel of Time trully is better, well at least for me, Nimroc and Arath_1 it is.

I started reading the first book back in december and I just finished it. He he, yeah it took me that long to finish it. The book is only 800 pages long but I went really slow with it. This was because the book at first didn't really interest me that much but it slowly grew on me. I often would take a long breaks between reading or I would just read one or two pages a day thus the reason it took me so long to finish the book. However, two weeks ago I got really into it and I just couldn't stop reading the book. I managed to finish the last 200 pages of the book in less then two weeks (compare that to the 600 pages that took me 7 months to finish).

Well the story does not stop at that book it continues god knows how long. Thus far there are 11 books of the Wheel of Time series and many more to come. According to Robert Jordon (the author), it will take him 30 more years to finish all the books he plans to write and he plans to do it before his death.

Edit: According to Nimroc, the last book in the series the 12th one (not counting the prequels) which is yet to be released. After that Robert Jordon will start on a new series with a new world. Sounds interesting, can't wait.

Well right now I am off to get another Wheel of Time book. Not the second book though, not yet. But the prequel to the first book which called New Spring: The Novel. It covers the events that happened before the The Eye of the World.

If you have not read a book from the Wheel of Time series then I strongly recommend you go pick up the first one. The book may start off boring for you like it did for me but if you stick with it I think you will strongly appriciate the great story that the Wheel of Time has to offer.

Reanimation Studios

Me and a group of friends from the Final Reunion have been planning to create Reanimation Studios for the past 2 months now. It's a game design union. Here we will learn how to make games and we will make one aswell. If you wish to join then please leave a comment I will send you an invite as soon as the union is complete.

What you can do at the union:
-Learn about Game Development
-Discuss about Game Development and the Video Game Industry
-Contribute to our Game Developmet

Game Development Contributation:
-Story Development
-Character Design
-Artwork Design
-Music Composing
-And much much more.

That's right, anyone can contribute and you can contribute in any of those field by working with us. We have been trying to make this union for 2 weeks now but we couldn't because of a Gamespot glitch. So we will be using another union that was given to me by Kira-Shinobi. That union is under MIA status right now but no worries. I am sure we will be active enough to remove it.

You can find the union at the link below. It's underdevelopment though. It should be done in 2 or 3 days. Make sure to leave a comment if you want me to send you an invite when it's done.

Reanimation Studios

Edit: The union is completed and is now open for business.

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